The strawman strawban fallacy

I am sure you are all familiar with the strawman fallacy.

  • Quoting an opponent’s words out of context?i.e.,?choosing quotations that misrepresent the opponent’s intentions?
  • Presenting someone who defends a position poorly as?the?defender, then denying that person’s arguments?thus giving the appearance that?every?upholder of that position (and thus the position itself) has been defeated
  • Oversimplifying an opponent’s argument, then attacking this oversimplified version.
  • Exaggerating (sometimes grossly exaggerating) an opponent’s argument, then attacking this exaggerated version.

How does the strawban fit with the strawman?

There is a problem with plastic entering the oceans, mainly from third-world countries.

So you’re saying the sea turtles are dying because the developed world is using plastic straws?? We should pass laws to ban them.?

Supporters of straw bans argue that serious global pollution problems demand drastic local solutions ? particularly, the use of non-biodegradable straws.

While it is true that plastic straws cannot be recycled and it is possible that they can be blown into waterways the numbers are infinitesimally small compared to the usefulness of plastic straws.

Bloomberg reported: Quote.

[…] this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a nine-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they’d account for about .03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.

In other words, skipping a plastic straw in your next Bahama Mama may feel conscientious, but it won’t make a dent in the garbage patch. So what will?

A recent survey by scientists affiliated with Ocean Cleanup, a group developing technologies to reduce ocean plastic, offers one answer. Using surface samples and aerial surveys, the group determined that at least 46 percent of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest.? End of quote.

Ah, but think of the virtue points you get in your trendy cafe in Queenstown when you ban straws to save the sea turtles.

Who is going to care if you put up a sign in your cafe to say that old fishing nets are banned?